'Eager to see a change': Downtown BIA members elect an almost entirely new board

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) has a new board for the 2019-2022 slate — and its members are almost all entirely new.

Chairman Larry Horwitz was not re-elected

Pat Papadeas was voted in as a DWBIA board member, as a member at large. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) has a new board for the 2019-2022 slate — and its board members are almost all entirely new.

Of the eight elected board members, Mary Anne Ducharme is the only returning member. Chairman Larry Horwitz was not re-elected.

Business and property owners voted over the course of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Results were emailed to candidates on Friday.

"There are some energetic … vibrant and young people that wanted to work with the BIA and were eager to see a change," said Brian Yeomans, a business development manager and board member-elect.

He said that many candidates actively campaigned and shared their platforms with different businesses to let them know they were interested in working with them and making some changes.

'Voices wanted to be heard'

"I'm not speaking negatively of the BIA presently or the current board, because they've done some great things," like working on implementing alley lights and cleaning, he said.

"But I think voices want to be heard and they wanted to have a little bit more involvement with how things were handled or run," he added.

Fellow board member-elect Pat Papadeas says change in an organization can be a healthy thing, and she's pleased to see so many new businesses that have opened up in the downtown core represented around the table among the new members.

"These are people who can make some incredible contributions in terms of their experiences in the downtown core," she said.

Horwitz not re-elected

Both Papadeas and Yeomans acknowledged that Horwitz not returning to the board is a big change. 

Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association chairman Larry Horwitz was not re-elected to the board for the 2019-2022 term. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

"Larry's very invested in the downtown core, he's been very involved in the downtown for years, and it is a surprise that he's not in it, but again, he does a lot for the city, and I do hope he still stays involved," Yeomans said.

Papadeas said Horwitz has always championed for a downtown that is vibrant and prosperous.

"Larry is larger than life, so he is definitely going to be, always, an involved player in downtown," said Papadeas.

Horwitz was unable to comment this weekend, but said he would speak to this at a news conference this week.

The first meeting of the new board will take place in January.

According to an email sent out to candidates by the executive director of the DWBIA, the newly elected board members are:

  • BAR & NIGHTCLUB - Bryan Datoc
  • HOTEL / TOURISM / RETAIL - Brian Yeomans
  • RESTAURANT (LICENSED) - David Prantera
  • RESTAURANT (UNLICENSED) - Stephanie Clark
  • RETAIL - Liam O'Donnell